Since their inception, the New York Mets have always had character. But since character comes in bad doses too, there have admittedly been players that we can honest to goodness say we hated. Loved to hate them. Booed them with relish. Maybe it helps to keep the other players in line. Because, be honest, no one wants to come to work every day and hear 25,000 or so other human beings describe what they did to their grandmother last night. And, being New York fans, we can also hate you when your statistics don't merit it. In 1993 Bobby Bonilla led the Mets in home runs with 34, and we hated him. We once saw him hit a double at Shea, and get booed. We were booing him, too. Why? Because we hated him.
Sorry, Bobby. We hated you. No free beers from us if you're ever at the other end of the bar.
But don't worry Bobby, since misery loves company (and trust us Bobby, you were misery), many other august names have also been told in detail by 25,000 or so other human beings what was done to their grandmother last night. Many on the same team you shared so many laughs with (more on that disaster later).
Every organization has its beloved players from the present and the past, especially a team with as storied and colorful a history as the Mets. (Exception: Los Angeles/California/Anaheim/North Hollywood/321 North Grenada Street Angels. A team with all the excitement of a debate on international policy at your local community college.) Since all history has both its fortunate and unfortunate moments, we need to recognize the things that have made the Mets Amazin' - both in the good and bad sense. Since these lists come in tens (we think), we present to you two fans' vision of the Mets Hall of Shame. This list is in no particular order, just that they all bring the same pained look to every Met fan's face.
1) George Foster, OF, 1982 - 1986
About a decade after Curt Flood, the Mets decided to get with the program and they signed their first major free agent. Whoops. An aging slugger from the Reds, George hit sub-.300, 20+ homers, while striking out 100+ times per season, and required a limo if there was a ball hit beyond 10 feet of him. After, he was replaced by Mets rookie Kevin Mitchell (an African-American), and Foster (an African-American) accused the Mets organization of being racist. This confused everyone, including George, who now frequently appears at Mets Alumni functions.
2) Dave Kingman, OF, 1975 - 1977, 1981 - 1983
Our first bona-fide slugger, he was great for those disgusting New York summers of the late 70's. You either got to see a towering home run (37 in 1976 and 1982) or feel the breeze of his swing on a badly missed ball (career high and team record 156 strikeouts in 1982). You think Shinjo (who we do not hate) looks silly striking out? You should have seen this guy. Sometimes Dave used to strike out and fall down on his surly ass. Low comedy.
3) Vince Coleman, OF, 1991 - 1993
The first of many from the glorious 1992 team. A sure-fire Hall of Famer if we've ever seen one. At least if it wasn't for our playing field, according to Vince. See, the Mets had the audacity to play on (GASP!) real grass, and it's awful hard to chop a ball into the grass and beat it out for an infield hit. On plastic, 110 SB's in 1985. On actual God-made material, he only stole a high of 38 in 1993. He also had a fondness for fireworks.
Favorite quote while with Mets: You guessed it, "What this field is doing is keeping me out of the Hall of Fame."
4) Eddie Murray, 1B, 1992 - 1993
Another 1992 member. He was like your scary Uncle Hal, who used to sit drunk and angry in front of the TV every Thanksgiving. Glowered his way through a Hall of Fame career. Will probably grumble something nasty into the mike during his induction ceremony and refuse to speak to reporters after the ceremony.
5) Jim Fregosi, 3B, 1972 - 1973 God sent us His only Son to show us purity personified. Then He sent down poor Jimmy to be the personification of "a bad trade". We are sure Jim is a very nice guy. But a missed 5,221 strikeouts, seven no-hitters and 295 wins can cause mass psychosis in any team's fans. Sorry Jimmy.
6) Mr. Donald Grant, Chairman of the Board, 1968 - 1978
According to a written account by Jack Lang, Mr. Grant apparently thought he and Joan Payson were the franchise. Not that other guy, what was his name? He was a pitcher, we think. Many times we sit our little ones down and tell them about how the glorious leadership of Mr. Grant had thousands of fans chanting his name every night from 1968-1978, breaking into rabid loving cheers every time we spotted him in his field box. Seaver was just one of many Mr. Grant unceremoniously unloaded after all they'd done for the franchise (i.e. Koosman, McGraw). And for talent that amounted to a bag of baseballs. Had a big hand in making the late 70's and early 80's very dark times.
Favorite quote while with Mets: "Don't you call Seaver the franchise! Mrs. Payson and I are the franchise!"
7) Bobby Bonilla, 3B, 1992 - 1995, 1999 The crown jewel of the 1992 Mets. He came and proclaimed to New York that they could try but they "couldn't wipe the smile off my face". Around here, that's considered a challenge. AND HE WAS FROM THE BRONX?!?!?! (He reminded a beat reporter of this one time) By the end of his first year, he was wearing earplugs to drown out the hometown fans. Even came back for a second try and ended up playing cards in the clubhouse during the final innings of Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS (a classic, even though we lost).
Favorite quote while with Mets: (Sing along now) "I know you're all gonna try, but you can't wipe the smile off my face."
8) The entire 1992 New York Mets (exception: Willie Randolph)
Screw Peter Angelos, Mets GM Al Harazin was the first to introduce the new economic concept of "reckless spending" to baseball . Nothing like a rousing combination of lousy ballplaying and a surly attitude towards the fans. All for the low, low price of $45 million. We got to watch a baseball team that displayed all the focused professionalism and athletic ability of a scratch co-ed softball team. The only team that generated a Mets history book, "The Worst Team Money Can Buy" that we wouldn't let our young nephew read because of all the naughty bits.
9) Mr. Met, Mascot, 1965 - Present
This is an especially personal one for John. It's bad enough that we have a mascot in the first place. It's bad enough that Mr. Met raises our pennants and greets our Hall of Fame and Negro League guests on special, should be classy occasions; but when he stiffed me while bringing everyone else in my family down for a DiGiorno seat upgrade on Opening day 2000, well, he's on my list. I mean, all he does is clap while college interns shoot T-shirts out of a Pepsi cannon. He could at LEAST pratfall and play with the freakin' umpires, like the San Diego Chicken or the Phillie Phanatic. (Two real mascots if we ever saw one.)
NOTE TO ABOVE: You will all be relieved to know that CJ was upgraded, and enjoyed the field level seats.
10) Carl Everett, OF, 1995 - 1997
For our personal safety, we probably shouldn't write anything nasty about Carl. You see, Carl's got a hair-trigger of a temper. The devil decided to screw Ty Cobb by sending him back amongst us, except as a black man. Calm down Ty, you're a lot better looking this time around. When shipped to Houston because of his attitude (surprise!!!) and allegations that he beat his kids like an umpire who called an inside strike, he mimicked George Foster and proclaimed racism. He currently has just finished ruining the Boston Red Sox clubhouse; with his work there done he has moved on to the Texas Rangers to team up with John Rocker and our old friend A-Rod. (Play nice!!) Call us pessimists, but we predict he'll continue fighting with teammates and setting an MLB record for getting managers fired. A model of consistency, our Carl.
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